Moose before Moosilauke

Hikes, NH48, TripReport , , ,

The day was starting to look beautiful, I felt energized. Bag packed the night before, all went smooth. Woke up refreshed, hit the road destined for Glencliff Trailhead. I have been using a different phone app for traffic and figured I’d try it for directions to the trailhead. I punched it in and drove off. I made my usual stops, Dunkins, then gas and off I went. The radio was treating me well and I turned off my brain for a while. I followed the Waze app directions blindly, as I had an idea of where the trailhead should be. It routed me up 93 and off in Lincoln. A slightly different route than Google, but I didn’t look closely what it did from there. I realized something amiss when I drove by the Beaver Brook Trailhead, knowing I was supposed to be on the other side of the mountain. I was ahead of schedule and figured why not enjoy the morning. I was committed and kept following it, the long way around. There was a ripple in my mood when the radio put on Suzanne Vega and I began to think I would have Tom’s Diner stuck in my head all day…you know what I mean. Then, Waze, in it’s best ‘boy band’ voice(because I laugh every time, except this time) had me turn on a dirt road. The sign says next 8.5 miles is steep and narrow. Now I started to worry, since there is no cell service, I could not recalculate an alternative route, so I followed it. The road was actually very well maintained and wasn’t as scary as the sign made me feel.
About 5 or 6 miles in, there were patches of logging, these odd half acre clearing with tree waste scattered. I caught some movement in one and though, wow, that’s a big wild horse. Not sure why that was my first thought, but stopped and quickly realized it was a giant moose. He lumbered around eating some of remaining vegetation. I could tell he was tall as he easily stepped over the remaining downed trees. He was about 75 yards away, quite a ways, and I remained in my car while I took photos and videos. He did peer back at me but he didn’t seem bothered. The previous hiccup to my morning (song and directions) were simply erased. My day was back on track.
I weaved through the woods and reached the end of the Long Pond Road and turned left on High Street. I took the last open spot near the trailhead sign, gathered my things and hit the trail at 0810.
The trail skirts a couple fields before it reached the first junction. The sun was rising nicely over the hills and sparkled through the leaves and onto the frosty grass. As I prefer loops over hikes I planned this route to include Hurricane Trail. A game time decision was made to begin up Hurricane Mountain as I was feeling good. This trail turned out to be a great trail. This is only about a week after peak foliage so many of the leaves have fallen. They covered the trail in blanket of 3-4 inches. At times this lightly traveled trail was hard to follow with the leaves obscuring way. The trail starts up moderately steep but then switches across before turning up again. Never was it difficult and the footing was great. At only 3000 feet, this is a wooded summit so I wasn’t expecting much. The trail has a recent reroute which looks like a massive effort. The old route was thoroughly brushed in and the new route was still soft through thick pine. There was a spur trail cut to an outlook which provided a beautiful view. I double backed the spur and began the descent on the other side.
I cannot say enough for the trail maintenance on Hurricane Trail. The obviously recent maintenance made for a quick and easy descent. In no time, I reached old Camp Misery and the junction of Carriage Road Trail. Carriage Road and Hurricane overlap for a short stint. Another game time decision to remain on Hurricane instead of cutting across Snapper Trail. I remained on Hurricane Trail all the way to Gorge Brook. This stretch of Hurricane is very flat and quick with colorful hardwoods everywhere. I didn’t see another soul the entire stretch of Hurricane Trail.
I made the junction of Gorge Brook Trail at 1020. This is just above the Gorge Brook Trailhead. There was a mild but steady flow of folks on Gorge Brook Trail. I made it over the crossing and could hear some hollering from a few scattered teens. They were searching for one of their party who ran ahead for a bathroom break. I’m not sure how long he was gone, but they were concerned. They described him to me and I meandered up the trail slowly scanning the woods at each side of the trail. About .1 after the junction of Snapper Trail, a man walking down with some large camera equipment matching the description. He confirmed he was the one they were looking for and he was on his way to meet them. Glad he was found.
I continued my way up the easier lower section of Gorge Brook trail. I reached the elbow(marked 3300′) where the trail parts from the brook chatting a couple of guys along the way. They had done Monadnock a couple weeks early and mentioned how they were greeted by the hundreds at a the summit, painful. After the bend, the trail steepens a bit. The footing remains great as it presses up the mountain. The only views are enjoying the varying wooded forest floor along the way up. As you start gaining elevation there is one small section of cleared trees. It is hard to tell if it was from a microcell blowdown or simply cut, but it afforded a nice peak at what is to come and offers some encouragement to press on.
It didn’t seem long that the trees began to change to scrub and soon was poking up the ledge with clear views to my back. The trail levels off as you ascend the final stretch up to the summit. The ice was still falling from the branches of the scrub from the prior days cold wet weather. A first glance at the round bald summit revealed folks gathering around the summit sign. The wind was light but the air was cold. The sun bounced in and out of cloud cover and could feel the chill of the fall. I made the summit and snapped a photo of the sign. I found a seat behind one of the stone walls which are scattered around the summit. I pulled out my down puff and donned my hat as I began to shiver in the cool air. I enjoyed a snack and drink and rested a bit. I also snapped a bunch of photos from all directions. The summit of Moosilauke offers 360 degree views, each one more amazing than the prior. Truly a wonderful summit.
Just as I was wrapping up my snacks, I recognized a billowing laugh from a recent arrival. I turned and saw Jake, a friend I hiked a portion of the Pemigewasset. We caught up a bit and snapped a summit photo together. I’m sure we’ll hike together in the near future. He remained with his friends and I made my way toward the South Peak.
The ridge between summits is an easy jaunt. It is only a mile between them and there is little elevation drops between. Once up on the South Peak, the views were still as amazing. The weather seemed different, less wind and warmer. Not sure why it felt so different, there is only about 300′ difference and nearly as bald. Regardless, I hung out on the South Peak a bit longer and enjoyed another snack, drink and a bunch more photos. I snapped a pic for a couple up there(hope it came out well as I couldn’t see the camera screen). I packed my hat, gloves and coat and put on my sweater again and began my descent.
I doubled back down the .1 spur trail to the Glencliff Trail. As I started down, I quickly disliked this trail. I’m not sure if the mileage was starting to get to me or if this trail is just really annoying to descend. It isn’t overly steep, but steep enough and the rocks were always off tilt. The top third was much the same and then the grade lessened, but the terrain seemed more rooty than rocky. I still didn’t enjoy this stretch, but better than the rocks above. Once past the roots, the rest of the trail was in decent shape. The leaf coverage made you keep your steps in check as you couldn’t tell what was under them. it was a relatively uneventful descent that seemed long at the time, but quick once done. Soon enough I had reached the junction of Hurricane Trail again.
Popping out into the meadow was just as uplifting as it was in the morning. I followed the trail down to the road this time. Across the road, the sign hinted. I suppressed the urge 😉 and went right, up the road a hundred feet back to the lot.
This was a fantastic loop, chatted with some great folks and great weather. Another one in the books.

Stumbled onto a giant moose along Long Pond Road
Stumbled onto a giant moose along Long Pond Road
Glencliff Trailhead, the start and end of this loop
Glencliff Trailhead, the start and end of this loop
I took the last spot in the small lot.  There was still space on the other side to parallel park.  Also looked like some cars were from overnight so may thin out
I took the last spot in the small lot. There was still space on the other side to parallel park. Also looked like some cars were from overnight so may thin out
Skirting this meadow just as the sun coming over the hills.  This sets a magnificent tone for the day
Skirting this meadow just as the sun coming over the hills. This sets a magnificent tone for the day
Glencliff Trail to the left, but I won't be on that till the return from the summit.  I head right on Hurricane Trail
Glencliff Trail to the left, but I won’t be on that till the return from the summit. I head right on Hurricane Trail
Much of the foliage has fallen, but colors remain bright
Much of the foliage has fallen, but colors remain bright
A cool morning, but the sun warms me.  The mildly travelled trail thoroughly covered with leaves makes it a challenge to ensure I remain on the trail
A cool morning, but the sun warms me. The mildly travelled trail thoroughly covered with leaves makes it a challenge to ensure I remain on the trail
A brushed in trail and freshly cut reroute.  Tremendous trail maintenance on Hurricane Trail
A brushed in trail and freshly cut reroute. Tremendous trail maintenance on Hurricane Trail
Fresh trail reroute.  I'm sure this was no easy task.  Great work!
Fresh trail reroute. I’m sure this was no easy task. Great work!
Fresh bog boards keep my feet dry and the trail erosion down
Fresh bog boards keep my feet dry and the trail erosion down
A spur to a lookout, well worth the trip
A spur to a lookout, well worth the trip
From the lookout spur on Hurricane Mountain
From the lookout spur on Hurricane Mountain
Another recent updated bridge.  Awesome trail work, truly shows
Another recent updated bridge. Awesome trail work, truly shows
Remnants of a clearing, suspect to be the former site of Camp Misery, a shelter for race officials back
Remnants of a clearing, suspect to be the former site of Camp Misery, a shelter for race officials back
The leaves may have fallen, but their color remains vibrant
The leaves may have fallen, but their color remains vibrant
The descent from Hurricane Mountain is fast thanks to the great trail maintenance, overlap onto Carriage Road Trail for a bit
The descent from Hurricane Mountain is fast thanks to the great trail maintenance, overlap onto Carriage Road Trail for a bit
Corrugated metal bridge was odd to walk on
Corrugated metal bridge was odd to walk on
Splitting off Carriage Road Trail and remain on Hurricane trail, instead of my original plan to cut over Snapper Trail
Splitting off Carriage Road Trail and remain on Hurricane trail, instead of my original plan to cut over Snapper Trail
Looking up Baker River as the trail runs alongside
Looking up Baker River as the trail runs alongside
Bridge over Gorge Brook near the junction
Bridge over Gorge Brook near the junction
A weathered reminder of where I am
A weathered reminder of where I am
Junction of Hurricane Trail and Gorge Brook Trail.
Junction of Hurricane Trail and Gorge Brook Trail.
Gorge Brook Trail, my route to summit the Moos
Gorge Brook Trail, my route to summit the Moos
Junction of Gorge Brook and Snapper Trail, where I originally planned to connect
Junction of Gorge Brook and Snapper Trail, where I originally planned to connect
Plenty of memorial plaques on Moosilauke celebrating some of the folks who helped shape this region into what it is today for all of us to enjoy
Plenty of memorial plaques on Moosilauke celebrating some of the folks who helped shape this region into what it is today for all of us to enjoy
The lower sections of Gorge Brook Trail were mild and quick, with much elevation to come, suspect that to change
The lower sections of Gorge Brook Trail were mild and quick, with much elevation to come, suspect that to change
Gaining elevation, it was hard to tell if this was cut or blowdowns, but it framed a welcomed view
Gaining elevation, it was hard to tell if this was cut or blowdowns, but it framed a welcomed view
Popping up toward the top of the ridge.
Popping up toward the top of the ridge.
Remembering to turn around, rewarded with great views
Remembering to turn around, rewarded with great views
The bald crown of the rounded summit
The bald crown of the rounded summit
The obnoxious color of the trail signs distracts from the ice formed.
The obnoxious color of the trail signs distracts from the ice formed.
The winds were mild and the sun warm, but the air was still cold to me.   This is looking toward the long approach of Beaver Brook Trail
The winds were mild and the sun warm, but the air was still cold to me. This is looking toward the long approach of Beaver Brook Trail
Summit navigation
Summit navigation
View of Mount Snuffleupagus or ridge to South Peak, I'm not sure
View of Mount Snuffleupagus or ridge to South Peak, I’m not sure
The views for miles.  I didn't know at the time, but I know that guy that snuck in the photo
The views for miles. I didn’t know at the time, but I know that guy that snuck in the photo
Bumped into Jake at the summit.  Contrast, he just arrived and I had been up there 15-20 minutes.  I had my layers and he in short sleeves.
Bumped into Jake at the summit. Contrast, he just arrived and I had been up there 15-20 minutes. I had my layers and he in short sleeves.
Frequent warnings, this sign warrants the obnoxious color
Frequent warnings, this sign warrants the obnoxious color
View in all directions from this bald summit
View in all directions from this bald summit
Starting my way toward South Peak along Carriage Road Trail
Starting my way toward South Peak along Carriage Road Trail
Can see remnants of rime ice on the cairns.  Prior day and night was cold and wet
Can see remnants of rime ice on the cairns. Prior day and night was cold and wet
Neat tunnel cut along the ridge evergreens
Neat tunnel cut along the ridge evergreens
Just a mile from summit to summit, well worth the extra two tenths out and back before heading down
Just a mile from summit to summit, well worth the extra two tenths out and back before heading down
The rust color is the aging foliage on the lower elevations
The rust color is the aging foliage on the lower elevations
A look back up to Mt Moosilauke
A look back up to Mt Moosilauke
The South Peak summit cairn
The South Peak summit cairn
Starting the descent on the Glencliff Trail, an awkward rocky start
Starting the descent on the Glencliff Trail, an awkward rocky start
Caught this aging downed log, a healthy bed for moss and ferns
Caught this aging downed log, a healthy bed for moss and ferns
More ankle busting rocks buried beneath a heavy layer of leaves
More ankle busting rocks buried beneath a heavy layer of leaves
Return to the other side of the junction of Glencliff Trail and Hurricane Trail
Return to the other side of the junction of Glencliff Trail and Hurricane Trail
Popping out of the tree cover into a field
Popping out of the tree cover into a field
Skirting a couple fields toward the parking lot
Skirting a couple fields toward the parking lot
Followed the trail to the road to make sure I got the full AT experience
Followed the trail to the road to make sure I got the full AT experience
Possibilities
Possibilities
Back to the lot, filled up a bit
Back to the lot, filled up a bit

44 of 48

Powered By TrailsNH.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *